Some time ago, I wrote a comparison (in French) of various graphical e-mail clients for OS X that I tried. None really satisfied me. I had noticed GyazMail by Goichi Hirakawa (yes, only one developer) from Japan by that time (version 1.1.8), but the lack of IMAP was (and still is — see Gmail vs. La Poste) a definitive no-no for me.
I stopped counting how many times I looked for newest GyazMail versions and hoped it would —finally— support IMAP.
Well, new years, new resolutions: GyazMail supports IMAP! I happily downloaded version 1.5.1 (latest one, released on january 3rd – IMAP is present since 1.5, so I guess it is kind of a Christmas gift).
Now for the interesting stuff: what I like, don’t like, changed, expect and so on.
Pros and cons
- No silly version numbering (did I say Firefox or even Mail.app?)
- Possible to browse preferences (previous and next arrows) like my other favourite software, Omniweb
- Twice smaller than Mail.app (22,2 Mb instead of 43,3 Mb)! Smaller and better; What are you doing, Apple?
- Return receipt by default (not activated by default, but you don’t need a plugin). I rarely use return receipt, but still…
- Priority is there too (I think it is in Mail.app too, but since I’m using plugins, this is hard to say). I rarely use priority, but still…
- Mail reading is better than Mail.app: when closing a mail window, you can choose to go to the next one
- It is possible not to replace unbreakable space by normal space. I use UTF-8 anyway, so what’s the point of deleting it, mmh?
- You can hide the signature by default. It will be there, but won’t distract while you’re writing. May or may not be a good idea. So far, I use this feature.
- Regexp-powered search. I still have to have some use for it, but your mileage may vary.
- Rules are more extensive than in Mail.app, but I don’t use much of them. There are filters too, but I don’t see the difference with rules.
- Lot of other features that I don’t need but you may.
- At last! Like in Eudora, you can Send later! I guess its original purpose is for sending mail when not constantly connected, but I use it as a kind of “temporizer”: Oftentime I change my mind just minutes after sending my mail. Draft is not the same feature; I forgot my draft, I can’t forget my delayed sending. Programmed sending would be even better (I was planning to program a mail to a mail developper once this very post would be online, since I already program my post)
It is neither gratis nor libre. Well, my favourite Windows browser (Opera) was shareware (now freeware) and so is my favourite OS X browser (OmniWeb). Bottom line: open source is great, quality proprietary is greater.
GyazMail does not feature any Mail.app-like “discussion merging” (by lack of better words); It does support
in-reply-to, but can’t collapse discussion, something I like in Gmail as well as in Mail.app (even though their implementation works poorly since it looks at subject, not
in-reply-to). Plus, there is not enough visual evidence of such a link (like the common dashed connectors — there is only an indentation, which is good, but not enough).
Other problem with discussions: There is no way to attach a message to another discussion. I know Mutt is able to do it and this is faily useful for grouping together messages that have been broken because of a bad mailer, especially when browsing in thread-mode and some messages are threaded and others are not.
Yeah, I know these are power user requests, but GyazMail is targeted at power users anyway 🙂
- Send message: I’d like the account and signature rollovers to be on one line. I would also like the
Reply-to: headers to be available like in Mail.app, instead of having to Browse the View menu if I did not specified them as default (which I did not, since they use a lot of room)
- Mail panel: I’d like minimal headers view, like in Thunderbird. This is not the same as personalised headers.
- I prefer Mail.app icons (for the toolbars; for the rest, I have no preference)
- I like Mail.app’s “smart dates” (Today, Yesterday). By the way, French localisation could use another one for
two days ago (
- pretty slow at IMAP, compared to Mail.app (10 seconds for deleting a mail, so it seems like it had not been deleted and you end up pressing the key again, with the risk of deleting another mail)
format=flowed support for writing. Support for handling is not on par with Mail.app’s, which is much better (IMNSHO)
- No search field in the toolbar. I know, cmd+f (search is quite powerful and even include regexp), but still… I guess it will come with the future
- No bolded headers in mail panel, like in Mail.app and countless others
- Rules seems to be non retroactive. I created a rule saying that every mail whose sender is foo should be highlighted in green, then press Apply a rule. Nothing happened.
Making it look like Mail.app
Despite all the limitation of Mail.app, it still has a lot of great features as well as a great appearance (yes, I once said the contrary. Changing times). Here’s what I changed to make GyazMail look more like Mail.app:
As a reminder: to change colour, I use the Digital ColorMeter, look upon Mail’s color, memorise the RGB (as 8-bit) and paste them on the relevant GyazMail’s dialog box (colours/cursor/RGB cursors/).
OK, here we go.
- Messages depth
- first level:
39,0,225 for blue
- second level:
0,10,413 for green
- third level:
90,0,0 for darkred
- Folder panel background:
- Folder and message list panels: Helvetica → LucideGrande
- Message panel: normal and monospace fonts → Monaco 11 (because monospace is the way to go when it comes to mail and Monaco is anti-aliased starting from font size 11).
Some other changes
For the record.
I made the following changes to all the toolbars I could find:
- Remove Reply. I always Reply to all (some exceptions do occur, especially with illeterate mail users) and it saves room
- Switched to small icons (hey, Apple! Mind you make it a general preference, once and for all for all applications?)
I also moved white from 100% to 98% in the mail panel (the whole application if way too whit
e out of the box).
All in all, GyazMail is a very interesting mail client. It combines power and elegance—neither PowerMail, Mulberry or, on the other extreme, Mail.app may say so. Hell, it may even be better than The Bat! (my favourite e-mail client on Windows). GyazMail is localized, Cocoa and definitely more powerful than Apple’s own solution (maybe not as much as what Thunderbird with plugin could achieve but, again, T-Bird is almost not an Aqua application and definitely not an integrated one). Last, but not least, GyazMail finally supports IMAP! (yes, it is childish to make it that strong but really, if you waited like me for so long, you would too).